Speakers: Respect is antidote to domestic violence

Oct. 01, 2013 @ 08:15 PM

Speakers on Tuesday called domestic and sexual violence a pervasive problem in Durham – but one that can be prevented by treating others with respect.

“It’s a hard subject to talk about,” said the Rev. Ingram Hedgpeth, chairman of the Durham Crisis Response Center’s board of directors. “It’s not a rich person’s problem or a poor person’s problem – it cuts across all ethnicities and economic lines.”

Hedgpeth’s remarks were made at the crisis center’s thrift store, Pennies For Change, on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.

The event marked the start of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and brought Durham Mayor Pro Tempore Cora Cole-McFadden and state Sen. Mike Woodard, among others.

“Any time anyone suffers as a result of domestic violence, that’s one person too many,” Cole-McFadden said. “If someone is killed, not only is that person gone, but another person is gone [to prison] for life. And if children are involved, they’re gone emotionally.”

Respect, she said, can make the world a less violent place.

“People are sometimes involved in relationships based on something other than friendship, and don’t have the foundation for a strong relationship if something goes wrong,” she said. “So they start fighting each other.”

If relationships were built on mutual respect and trust, she said, they would be more likely to last.

“Genuine love, not clouded by anything, is so important,” she said. “When hard times come, you can sit down and talk about it, and be supportive.”

The nonprofit Durham Crisis Response Center has served victims of domestic and sexual violence for more than 30 years, offering counseling, legal advocacy, support groups and emergency shelter.

In 2012, the center sheltered 237 women and children. But it was forced to turn away 98 women because it lacked funds and space.

Woodard said he believes that raising awareness can reduce domestic and sexual violence in Durham.

“We need to educate our young people,” Woodard said. “We need to get the word out that girls need to protect themselves and boys need to respect the women in their lives. And I pray that one day, we’ll be able to eliminate the problem completely.”

More information is available at durhamcrisisresponse.org